What a wonderful weekend I’ve had! I will write more about it tomorrow, when I’m not so tired. Just the mechanics of packing up to leave one place and setting up at another just wears me out.
I made a few mistakes this weekend. First of all, I thought I hitched up properly, but there was a step after that I was unsure of (and I’m too tired to even remember what it was except that it concerned landing gear). A couple of lanes over from me was a 5th wheel that had come in the day before, and a man was getting a grill or something set up. I walked over and asked if he could tell me, so he came over and looked at the hitch. He thought I’d be better off doing it all over again, which I did with him observing. I got it right and pulled out. I had thought I would back up but since I was later than I wanted to be leaving for Les Schwab’s, I decided to go carefully forward. I had climbed the ladder and thought I would have clearance to get under the tree limbs without damaging anything, and I did.
The staff at Les Schwab looked at the four tires and determined there was still a lot of life left in them, and that they would be perfectly fine for now, so they suggested I save the money now and have them installed when they are needed. The more dealings I have with that company the more I trust them. It’s too bad they are only in the Western states, and I just hope everything holds until I get back here a year from now.
They checked all the tire pressures on truck and 5th wheel and told me I was good to go! I ended up arriving at the lake earlier than intended since I didn’t spend any time with the tires. I was unsure of the check in time so I pulled up across a lot of parking spaces up the hill from the boat launch. I walked over to the information board to see about times, rules, etc. Eventually one of the volunteers came by and asked if he could help me, so I explained about the family group getting together, and what sites we had booked. He told me I could go set up there right away, and while we were talking another volunteer came up and offered to escort me over to the site, me driving and him walking. After I parked the rig I got out to talk to him, and we ended up conversing well over an hour, about full timing, volunteering, our kids, different parts of the country, the southwest vs Maine, and lots of other topics. While we were talking a ranger drove up to give him some information and she spoke to me as well. Maybe it’s because I am a soon-to-be volunteer in a Federal park that they were extremely friendly, but I really think they would be like that with all visitors. Another ranger came around at 10:00 pm to announce generators off, and she and I spoke for a while as well. What a wonderful, friendly group of people — federal employees and volunteers alike. I was really impressed with the beauty of the park and campground, the cleanliness, etc. When I was leaving today the volunteer came by to wish me well. I woudn’t hesitate to stay at a Corps of Engineers campground in the future.
Today when leaving I had a little trouble hitching up as it was on an angle, and because the angle of the sun made it difficult to see exactly the proximity of the king pin to the hitch through the mirror. I use the mirror a lot plus get in and out of the truck to see how it is going. I asked Steve to just do it for me, but he was in the mode of “You need to do it yourself and get your confidence up”. Please, sometime soon, but not now!!! Didn’t do me any good to plead and whine – I don’t ever remember being that tough on him when he was growing up. I got the job done and drove back to Orland and the campground. I talked to Steve after they arrived home and he said they followed me and that I made my turns really well. I don’t know why but my confidence the past few days was a a low point, where the 5th wheel is concerned. I drove back into my space here in the CG, completely forgot the sequence of things I needed to do, but finally figured it out. Then when I pulled the truck away from the 5th wheel I found I had forgotten to unplug the electric connection and the breakaway cord. In my defense I will say that in the middle of all this the CG owner walked up and asked how it was going, how was my weekend, etc. I think it broke my concentration so that I forgot about unhooking the electric and the breakaway. At least I will use that as a defense of my forgetfulness.
I haven’t looked at my pictures yet so I will probably post some of them tomorrow. I will say that my daughter and daughter-in-law seemed happy to have the 5th wheel to stay in, and that made me very happy. I set up my new Eureka screen tent (with Donald’s help), and the dogs and I slept in it both nights. I had the air mattress that I bought when I sold my house, plus my old Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag that I used when backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. I gave it to Joe when I decided my backpacking days were over with, and he brought it up for me this weekend. Even though I bought it about 11 years ago, that bag is as wonderful today as it was then. The comfort and loft of the feathers is amazing. It got very cool at night so I appreciated having the down sleeping bag. When it came time to break down the screen tent today I insisted I should do it myself (everyone seemed to want to help me) but I know I will have to go it alone some day soon. After I got it all down Steve said, Ok, now put it all back up and see if you can do it by yourself. I don’t know how he could treat his mother that way but he did, and I proved I’m not over the hill just yet (but close).
I arrived back at the campground in Orland with completely full waste tanks and completely empty fresh water. I emptied the waste but just plugged into the city water connection for now. A few minutes ago the CG owner drove by to say they had a problem with the water and were shutting it down throughout the park, and that she would let me know when it comes back on. I guess I will be doing without water for a while and hope it isn’t too much of a problem. I did fill my Brita pitcher but half of that went to the dogs with their supper this evening. I think I have one bottle of water left plus several bottles of beer, so I shouldn’t die of thirst.
To be continued.